I just checked out VFW, the latest from director Joe Begos (Almost Human, The Mind’s Eye) who returns with, in my opinion his best film yet! This sweet little gritty love letter to John Carpenter, which calls back to his classic ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ in big way, is also a blood soaked love letter to some older actors/action stars of yesteryear. We’ve got icons Fred Williamson, William Sadler, Stephen Lang, Martin Kove & even George Wendt from ‘Cheers’ to make this bar room brawl even more authentic!
The story kicks off on a special birthday night for VFW bar owner “Fred” and his tight knit gang of bad ass war veterans. The evening quickly turns into wild all-out battle for their lives when a teen punk rock girl crashes their party with a sack full of ‘hype’. This new drug basically turns people into demented maniacs, with a hunger for more hype at any cost. The evil punk drug dealer, desperate to get his valuable stash back, sends his gang of gnarly addicts on a rampage to get it back. When these mutant punks on a rampage storm the bar looking for the teen, the old vets along with a younger soldier get to relive the gory glory years of war one more time. They unleash their pent of rage and fury using every weapon they can get their hands on to protect the girl and try annihilate the horde of drug addled maniacs. However these messed up punks have hype running through their veins and want more, risking anything to their grimy paws on it.
If you’re a fan of old school action flicks from the 70’s & 80’s you’re going to really get a kick out of VFW. The gore is pretty over the top, done in a such a cartoony way that people literally explode on screen. As a fan of practical fx Begos always delivers the goods with some wild splatter, he also keeps the vibe placed firmly in the golden days of the action era, with not a cell phone in sight. It also feels like an 80’s flick, with stunning neon lit sets within the walls of the cool old dank dive bar.
The real highlight of this is the cast of old codgers who do the majority of the ass kickin’. It’s absolutely delightful to see the likes of Fred Williamson & The Karate Kid’s Martin “Sensei” Kove in full on action mode as well as Stephen Lang, William Sadler and the younger soldier played by Tom Williamson. They’re all great here and give this film the cred it deserves proving age is just a number when it comes to cinematic butt kicking. I really enjoyed VFW, it’s the perfect modern midnite movie and gets so much praise for bringing in some old icons into the mix of onscreen mayhem. Check this out if you’re a fan of 70’s/80’s cult action horror flicks- And here’s to hoping VFW gets a sequel bringing even more of the bar’s patrons into the fold, hand picking some more old nearly forgotten bad asses to do some damage one last time!
I’m pretty damn excited about the upcoming horror survival flick VFW from Joe Begos, who’s already got some pretty sweet modern horror movies under his belt like ‘Almost Human’ & ‘The Mind’s Eye’. VFW shows the same promise but this time with a stellar cast, the likes of Martin Kove, Fred Williamson, Stephen Lang & Cheer’s own barstool regular George Wendt. A lazy crew of old codger war veterans have their usual evening of drinkin’ abruptly interrupted when their beloved VFW hall comes under attack by a vicious gang of punks, who’re fully jacked up on a powerful new drug called ‘the hype’.
So far this looks like a modern cult classic and it’s so cool when a newer director showcases some of the genre’s older largely forgotten heros in inventive new ways. VFW also features Bego’s regular Graham Skipper who always does a stellar job. It looks like it’s going for a John Carpenter ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ type of vibe here, except with more over the top gore and with each movie this director does, his chops improve greatly, I’ve still yet to see his 2019 release ‘Bliss” but it’s definitely on my radar as well. VFW is set for release on Feb 14th 2020, can’t wait to check this out as it’s definitely one of my most anticipated!
I’ve been on a kick lately of trying to find lost movie gems from the 1980’s, mostly searching for foreign horror flicks from that era. It’s been pretty fun finding a ton of cool Hong Kong stuff and more recently discovering an awesome 80’s horror director from Mexico named Ruben Galindo Jr. The first of his horror movies I checked out was 1985’s ‘Cemetery of Terror’ and that got me hot on the tracks of the rest of his horror output of that era. So far he’s got a great track record, as Cemetery of Terror is ton of fun, a blend of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Carpenter’s Halloween & The Goonies. Well ‘Don’t Panic’ from 1987 is just as entertaining but in a far more ridiculous manner. It’s like a blend of Witchboard, Nightmare on Elm Street 2 with a dash of D-level John Hughes. I mean that in the best way as it’s the perfect flick to watch with a gang of ravenous cinefiles on a Saturday nite!
It’s main character the very whiny, curly blonde, seventeen year old american mama’s boy named Michael who’s forced to move to Mexico City to live with his alcoholic mother. On his seventeenth birthday his gang of irritating teen morons throw him a terrible party where they fully embarrass him in front of his school crush, peer pressure him to get totally wasted & eventually coax him into using a ouija board. Of course weird shit goes down and soon he’s seeing nightmarish visions of violent murders being committed all over the city nightly. While this consumes most of his time, he’s also falling head over heels in love with one of his lovely classmates. The two skip class one day an go on the greatest ridiculously awesome 80’s date ever put to screen while he takes her all over town on his bmx bike. Yeah life seems just perfect but of course he’s plagued by even more bizarre visions of murder, his eyes begin turn blood red forcing him to don sunglasses & avoid the new love of his life. Things get so crazy that he’s unable to sleep, but crazier yet, he begins to roam the streets in a pair of unbelievable dinosaur pajamas that are suited for a 6 year old! It’s one of my favorite things about this movie, those infamous PJ’s!! Best yet is that he spends probably 3/4ths of the film proudly donning them! All I wanna know is where the hell can I find a pair of those for myself?!!
Ok so this ones clearly a ton of idiotic fun, they even have a sort of Freddy Kruger type supernatural slasher dude named…..VIRGIL! He loves to taunt Michael and forces him on a wild spooky goose chase (in his PJ’s of course). This movie bleeds the 1980’s in it’s style and special effects work, modestly executed by FX master Screamin’ Mad George (Predator/ Nightmare on Elm Street 3/ Society)! Unlike ‘Cemetery of Terror’, this one’s in English (though it’s clear there’s some serious dubbing at times for certain actors) but still shows the charm of Mexico in the 1980’s, something I truly appreciate here. It’s filled with tons of ridiculous dialogue, over top bad acting and stands up there with some of the most fun the genre had to offer from it’s US counterparts.
Galindo’s got a few other horror films I need to check out still, but this far in I’m starting to think he must be come sort of cult horror director in Mexico? He clearly had his finger on the pulse of cheezy, fully entertaining 80’s horror and I really think more horror fans here in the USA should be aware of his movies. They can be a bit hard to find physical copies of but luckily ‘Don’t Panic’ has been posted on Youtube if you wanna check it out that way. If you want a physical copy you can find it on Twistedanger.com a site filled with super hard to find cult flicks!! Check it out!
I finally after years of searching, got a copy of the highly elusive, lost Hong Kong Horror / Sci-fi flick from 1991! If you’ve ever seen the director’s previous movie ‘Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki’ then you’ve got a decent idea of what you’re in for here. Lam Ngai Kai, the cult director at the helm here ended his wild and truly weird film making run with this crazy gem and then completely disappeared, likely completely satisfied with the truly bonkers back catalog of films he left behind.
‘The Cat’ is the perfect finale to his cult legacy as well, the only problem is, it’s a damn hard one to track down unless you search it down on Youtube and can find decent a version with subtitles, I’m not a big fan of the film quality that turns up there for many of these “lost” movies. But sometimes it’s the only way to check these rare flicks out. Filmed back to back with ‘Riki-Oh’, this one again is a short, sweet briskly paced, frenetic adventure with a runtime just under 80 minutes.
The story of course is yet another truly weird one: an amorphous blob of tentacled evil, is set loose from somewhere in deep space down to the streets of Hong Kong. Meanwhile mild mannered adventure novelist Wisely, is given an odd tip from a friend who suspects something strange afoot at his normally quiet apartment complex, discovering his next door neighbors are a trio aliens from another planet being lead by their “pet” cat named ‘The General’. Stranded on Earth they’re intent on completing a mysterious secret mission. Soon Wisley’s stuck in a mind bending web of utter mayhem when he tracks down & befriends the alien trio, embarking on a horror drenched adventure to stop the evil alien blob from continuing it’s path of destruction.
The Cat’s got a lot going for it, especially if you’re a fan of gooey, fast moving horror movies like Evil Dead II & stuff like The Terminator and The Thing. It’s got sweet 80’s style special FX galore, “Cat vs Dog” fist fights, over the top gun play & a down right bizarre train wreck of a plot. I mean that in the best way possible and some of the way it comes off is likely do to the crude translation of the dialogue via subtitles. It’s got a few scenes that kinda just have to be seen to be believed, not nearly anywhere as gory as Riki-Oh, but surely a unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a movie before. Particularly a sequence where the intelligent alien cat “General” is pursued by Hong Kong’s most dangerous canine, a hulking mastiff, who’s been sent by Wisely to hunt him down. Dog & cat duke it out in a creepy junkyard while the ‘General’ the cat displays some incredible human fighting techniques and even sports an unbelievable wresting move right out of the WWF to end the whole damn confrontation!
There’s tons of colorful, gooey practical fx to marvel over as well, puppets, gore, stunts & that classic 80’s electricity used to pure perfection. Director Lam Ngai Kai truly revels in the absurdity of it all and clearly used his stunning fx spectacles as the center pieces for his films. Turning your mind off and simply enjoying the eye candy is the best approach to his movies. I’m stunned most only know his movie Riki-Oh, which is now a bonafide cult classic, when he’s got a trove of incredible movies that all rival it. Do yourself a favor and check out ‘The Seventh Curse’ & ‘The Ghost Snatchers’ from 1986, ‘The Peacock King’ from 1989 as well as ‘The Cat’ & ‘Riki Oh’ 9if you haven’t seen that one yet). All of these movies deserve a remastered official blu ray release dammit!! Until then I’ve got some extra boot VHS copies of the movie If you’re interested!!
So yesterday I checked out the new Halloween (H40, I’ll call it) movie everyone has been ranting and raving about, as a long time fan of the franchise I can say it was a pretty damn well done sequel. It did in a way bring back memories of eagerly heading into the theater 20 years ago for basically the same event, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode facing off against her long time nemesis Michael Myers for ‘Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later’. I remember how excited I was back in 1998 seeing this legendary face off happen on the big screen and it left me pondering yesterday, which was a better film?
So first off Jamie Lee Curtis coming back AGAIN was a very special treat! Hell yeah, she did a great job as Laurie Strode and the nostalgia was super high once again seeing her as the iconic final girl. She truly brought firey emotion to film and completely sold her desperation and paranoia in awaiting the return of the Michael Myers. She also was essentially a total Sarah Connors type character, a full on badass waiting for the chance now to finally destroy her nemesis, equipped with guns galore and a crazy ass fortress filled with traps as her home. ‘Halloween: T2’. You could really feel the final battle brewing and the thick tension in the air from the get go. Quite a different character than in H20, here she’s eagerly awaiting the chance to kill Myers rather than hide from him.
Rather than a son this time around she had her daughter, who’d she spent most of her childhood training to use guns and survive an inevitable confrontation with Michael she was certain would someday occur. Her daughter now resentful of her intense upbringing has a daughter of her own, Laurie’s granddaughter, whom she’d really like to distance from her supposedly wacko overreacting final girl of a mom. Meanwhile Michael who’s been locked up for 40 years escapes and goes on a killing rampage. So there you have it in a nutshell story wise at least..
It also had a stunning new score from the master who started it all, John Carpenter. That definitely gave it the feel of nostalgia and set the mood quite well for the most part. It did however make me wonder a few times though, why not just have Carpenter get in the director’s chair as well? David Gordon Green did a decent job directing but his resume is a bit perplexing, ‘Pineapple Express’ being his most notable amongst a trove of weird unpopular rom coms. H20’s director Steve Miner directed genre favorites ‘Friday The 13th’ Parts 2&3, ‘House’ from 1986, Warlock (1989) and was even second unit director on the cult classic ‘Night of the Creeps’. Though H40 was a pretty solid effort overall there’s still a part of me that thinks just maybe H20 may have been a better end to the saga? Am I crazy?! I thought the 2018 version was darker in tone, for the most part, except when there’s Danny Mcbride comedy oddly inserted throughout which seemed a little off most of the time. I do remember H20 had some of odd comedy as well with LL COOL J wisecrackin’ and a general sort of a Scream-esque style to the whole experience. I thought the kill scenes here were pretty decent, most being done off screen, only seeing the end result mostly and one cgi knife kill that did indeed kinda bother me. I’d say in the inventive kill department though Halloween 2018 didn’t bring a lot new to the table. Continue reading
So it’s happening Nightmare on Elm Street fans! Robert Englund is indeed returning as the iconic character Freddy Krueger, but not quite in the way we’d all been hoping for the last 15 years. “The Goldbergs” is an ABC sitcom that apparently takes place in the 1980’s and I’m gonna admit it, I’d never heard of it before as I don’t watch “regular” TV anymore. But one of the upcoming Halloween episodes of the show will indeed feature Robert Englund in the role of Freddy Krueger once more. Here’s the synopsis:
“Despite Beverly’s wishes, Jackie’s parents allow Adam to watch A Nightmare on Elm Street and a disagreement between the families ensues. But Beverly dreams of facing off with horror icon Freddy Krueger (guest star Robert Englund), which teaches her an important lesson about her son’s relationship with Jackie. Meanwhile, Erica realizes she’s not as popular as she once was as she starts hanging out at William Penn Academy despite the fact she’s no longer a student there.”
Here’s a pic from the upcoming show:
Anyway I’m really hoping that this might inspire some sort of real legit campaign to get Rob to Return in the iconic role for another movie. He still looks totally awesome as ol’ Fred and I’m certain fans would be more than ecstatic for another movie with him in the classic role!! With the popularity of the upcoming installment of Halloween “H40” featuring Jamie Lee Curtis it seems more possible than ever that perhaps we might actually see another Nightmare on Elm Street movie with Robert. In the meantime I guess I’ll check this TV show out, just to get a glance at Englund on the sitcom! Finger blades crossed that this leads to something more!! Check this shit out!
“The Goldbergs,” WEDNESDAY, OCT. 24 (8:00-8:30 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/John Fleenor)
I’ve just read some interesting news that the currently upcoming ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ movie which was rumored for a long time to be a remake of the classic John Carpenter flick is actually a damn sequel! That’s some VERY interesting news indeed. Especially since so many were under the impression that Duane “The Rock” Johnson might be recast as the legendary cult hero Jack Burton. It turns out that’s not the case at all, this is what Collider had to report about all things ‘Little China’:
“There’s a lot of things going on with ‘Big Trouble in Little China’. We are in the process of developing that, and let me tell you, the idea is not to actually remake Big Trouble in Little China,” producer Hiram Garcia tells the site. “You can’t remake a classic like that, so what we’re planning to do is we’re going to continue the story. We’re going to continue the universe of Big Trouble in Little China. Everything that happened in the original exists and is standalone and I think there’s only one person that could ever play Jack Burton, so Dwayne would never try and play that character. So we are just having a lot of fun. We’re actually in a really great space with the story that we’ve cracked. But yeah, no remake. It is a continuation, and we are deep into development on that as well, and I think you’ll start hearing some things about that probably soon.”
So this sounds like it just might be a step in the right direction, however, there’s two big ass elephants in the room. The first of course is will Kurt Russell then return as ‘Jack Burton’? That actually sounds like a damn ridiculous question, because no shit Russell SHOULD return!! Why the hell not? The guy has proven time and time again recently that he’s indeed still got it as a total bad ass. Bone Tomahawk anyone?! The guy still looks awesome as well and the article explains that it could be a tricky one to film as Duane Johnson’s movie schedule is pretty tight these days filming movies like Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’ and some Fast & Furious spin off movie. It strikes me as pretty funny because my question here is why the fuck do we need to wait for Duane Johnson for BTILC2, just cast Kurt Russell and let’s get this shit moving! There’s gonna be some blowback IF they don’t put Russell in the movie and that’s a damn fact folks. Continue reading
Hot Damn!! Did you all watch the latest YouTube Red series ‘Cobra Kai’ or what?! Talk about a surprise hit show, it’s still blowing my mind that somehow they completely pulled this show off and then some. Who’d have thought a sequel series to The Karate Kid 34 years later would have turned out to be a bonafide hit show? I’m going on record though to say this series not only exceeded my expectations but is one of my favorite TV shows of all time.
So it got me thinking, what other 80’s movie franchises could they give a similar treatment to after the surprise success of Cobra Kai? Here’s five other 80’s franchises I think if given the care of ‘Cobra Kai’ might work in a similar way as tv series. Obviously the movies have to have had memorable characters that we wonder what are up to today! So here we go…
ROMANCING THE STONE (1984)
Like The Karate Kid the original from 1984 is one of my all time favorite movies. It spawned a lackluster sequel called ‘Jewel of the Nile’ and I think is the perfect franchise to revisit if done with respect of the original franchise. The movie captured people’s hearts back in 80’s and struck a chord with people longing for some real romantic adventure in their normal everyday lives. I always wondered if Joan Wilder & Jack Colton lived happily ever after? Well this series could revisit Joan & Jack today who’re obviously much older but also catapult their now normal lives into one last adventure.
Teaming them up with their children, who somehow are pulled into another bizarre treasure hunt that reaches exotic places of the earth that are little traveled or perhaps even completely uncharted. Michael Douglas is in his early 70’s and Cathleen Turner in her 60’s but adding their younger children or single child into the mix could make for a surprisingly fun exotic action adventure. Hey they’re still both younger than Harrison Ford and he’s getting another Indiana Jones movie! Handled the right way I think a Romancing the Stone series would be a blast. Probability of this happening: Highly Unlikely.
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (1988)
I think a Roger Rabbit series could be totally insane & a ton of fun. Imagine Toon Town 30 years later? What hell is going on there? The show could take place in the 1980’s or even in the same time period as the first movie. Because most of the characters are cartoons it’d be easy to bring them back for another adventure and you could even pull a great new cast for this second adventure and really flesh out the Toons.
As far as a storyline it’s interesting to know that there are actually a trilogy of Roger Rabbit books the first one being written in 1981 ‘Who Censored Roger Rabbit’, the second in 1991 ‘Who P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit’ and in 2013 ‘Who Wacked Roger Rabbit’. So as far as material there’s a lot to pull from. I think this would be a great franchise to revisit in a series and again like it was in 1988 there’s nothing out there today quite like it. Probability of this happening: Unlikely.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)
Ahhh…now here’s a great one that could be taken in so many fun directions. People have wanting a proper sequel to ‘Big Trouble’ for decades and it’s even been given a sequel treatment in comic book form recently. So why the hell not kick start the further adventures of Jack Burton in current times? Bring back Kurt Russell as the character and let him get into more trouble all over again. He certainly doesn’t need to stay in “Little China” this time around but let’s find out just what the hell he’s up to these days.
Let John Carpenter write, direct or do both even but fill it to the brim with more of the amazing monsters, adventure and 80’s fx that made the cult classic so damn beloved. Kurt Russell looks as bad ass as ever too and he really wouldn’t even need to be paired up with a bunch of young hip side kicks for the first season at least. Theres’ so much potential here for a great series and I think fans would eat it up if it was handled with the same respect and care as Cobra Kai. Probability of this happening: Good. As a reboot has been talked about for years with Duane Johnson.
THE GATE (1987)
Ok so I know this will NEVER happen but a seed has to be planted somewhere right? Cuz you just never really know? However I had to add this one because it’s a truly great 80’s franchise I hold dear to my heart. The Gate from 1987 is one of the best 80’s horror flicks ever and I think if some place like Shudder was looking for a horror series to kickstart The Gate would be the perfect choice. It’s got a cult following and it’s two main stars Stephen Dorff and Louis Tripp (Who also starred as the lead character in The Gate 2) are both only in their 40’s at this point.
What if The Gate was opened once again by one of these guys in modern times, Maybe Louis Tripp’s kids find one of his old demonic metal records and set things into motion? I’d imagine it’d be amazing to see one of them have to make the call to the other to save suburbia from complete evil again. Maybe Stephen Dorff has a family of his own? Maybe Louis Tripp, the heavy metal obsessed kid from the first two movies is in a once popular but now failing metal band of his own? Whatever the case I always thought it’d be cool to see these two guys later in life as Dorff still stars in plenty of movies and we’d have to get Louis Tripp out of acting retirement! Probability of this happening: Between slim and none but now with this post slightly better!!
THE GOONIES (1985)
Ah…ok so now we get to an 80’s movie that I think has got a decent chance of being revived as a tv series! How awesome would it be to have a Goonies TV show in the works? I mean who the fuck doesn’t wanna know what the damn Goonies are up to now that they’re all grown up?!! Imagine them all now settled down in their normal boring every day lives, some may have families and some may be in completely different places but one thing remains true Goonies never say die! Through some strange turn of events the grown up Goonies become involved with their most incredible adventure yet. Something none of them ever imagined would happen ever again. The cast is still relatively young and the possibilities are endless.
There’s a so much heartfelt drama and adventure that could be explored between these characters as they’re now all grown up and longing for the nostalgia of their childhood, well what happens when that nostalgia gets dropped directly onto their laps? It’d be time to see if The Goonies still have what it takes decades later. You could incorporate their kids into the mix as well if they wanted to pass the torch but I think ‘season one’ would be great to get the old gang back together for a more adult, but still fully comedic adventure of a lifetime. This show could work on so many levels and a tv series is fully the way to go with it. That would all be true if it had a truly great story and writers behind it as it could also easily turn out to be a full on disaster. So many great characters and I think it’d finally give Corey Feldman the adult role of redemption he’s been looking for all these years. Probability of this happening: Likely!!!
I heard recently that John Carpenter is co-writing an official sequel comic book series to his classic “Big Trouble in Little China” called “Old Man Jack”. It’s set in 2020 and follows the further adventures of the now 60 year old Jack Burton as he once again does battle with evil forces looking to conquer the Earth. Coming this September, this new series from Boom! Studios is getting the internet talking about getting Carpenter to adapt the comic to the big screen by long time fans. Sounds like a god damn bonafide slam dunk huh?!
Well not so fast movie maniacs! What a lot of people have forgotten is that 20th Century Fox has been threatening all of us fans of the original movie with a remake starring Duane “The Rock” Johnson as the new Jack Burton. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like The Rock, but when it comes to the choice of a sequel to ‘Big Trouble’ with Kurt Russell at the very least written by Carpenter, it’s a no brainer. At the very least, give us the damn sequel first!! You can always reboot that shit later. I’d hope at this point Hollywood gets the very simple fact that people want sequels (done with integrity mind you) for their favorite movies rather than another throw away, cookie cutter, “here today gone tomorrow” remakes of a cult classic they keep servin’ us up. It should be proof enough with sequels to Star Wars, Blade Runner & tv shows like Ash vs Evil Dead that prove people don’t really want a full on remake. They want the story to continue. The solution to the problem at hand is simple, just add Duane Johnson to the damn cast of the sequel, have him team up with Kurt Russell! DUH! Continue reading